Echo prescription app ad 'kick in the teeth' for pharmacies
By Neil Trainis
Numark managing director Jeremy Meader has accused LloydsPharmacy's parent company McKesson of “completely forgetting” about its independent pharmacy customers and attempting to “take business away from them” after it published an ad for its prescription app Echo on social media.
The ad, which appeared on Facebook and has now been taken down, encouraged people to avoid going to a pharmacy to get their medicines by ordering prescriptions through the app and getting them sent to their homes free of charge.
Describing the ad as “a kick in the teeth for the local community pharmacy,” Mr Meader said: “Trying to gain business by arguing that “every trip to the pharmacy is a chance for Covid-19 to spread” ... “limit those chances by ordering those medicines online” seems to me to be actively encouraging patients not to visit local community pharmacies.
“These are the same local community pharmacies that have all made phenomenal efforts to keep the doors open during the pandemic and provide a Covd-secure environment for patients and colleagues, providing access to much-needed NHS services, advice and medication.
“It appears that Echo’s owners McKesson have completely forgotten their independent community pharmacy customers [of McKesson-owned wholesaler AAH] and feel it’s appropriate to try and take business away from them.”
Meader said the ad would have been poorly received by independent pharmacies “at a time when we are campaigning so hard for more recognition and critically sustainable long-term funding for the community pharmacy sector".
Lloyds: Ad 'misconstrued'
A spokesperson for LloydsPharmacy told Independent Community Pharmacist the ad has been removed over concerns it could be “misconstrued.”
“We have removed it from our channels and we’re very sorry that there was any potential for the message to be misunderstood. This was not our intention. We are equally committed to providing all customers with choice around their prescription service, whether that is in a LloydsPharmacy, through our Echo by LloydsPharmacy app, or through our valued and loyal independent community pharmacies that we proudly supply.
“AAH proudly stepped up to the plate during the Covid crisis ensuring our valued independent customers received their supply of medicines whilst many others failed to do so, as illustrated by our growth in market share when we went the extra mile to serve our pharmacy customers.”
Viatris has created this short video based on a publication reviewing global research into the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health. It identifies six areas where psychiatrists can play a role in supporting people's mental health through these difficult times.